Satyamev Jayate: Superstar status an ‘advantage’ for Aamir Khan?
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Last Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 16:52
  
Gayatri Sankar

He made an impressive splash on the small screen with ‘Satyamev Jayate’, a popular jargon now, which has facilitated a number of social reforms in the country. And the show which is nearing its closure was bound to create an impact leaving a profound influence on viewers across the globe.

One couldn’t have expected anything less than ‘Satyamev Jayate’ from Aamir Khan, who has eventually earned the status of a social activist. Not that Aamir’s activist side was unknown to people prior to the novel show, but it made the actor, a national icon, an idol who could translate promises into reality.

Aamir’s association with Medha Patkar’s ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’, Incredible India’s ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ project and his participation in Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign last year were indeed a prelude to his activist side.

The show’s message is no doubt reaching the bureaucrats and creating a sense of urgency to act upon concerning issues. But one big debate has risen; is it Aamir’s star power that is doing the trick?

Many would agree that somewhere, Aamir’s celebrity status has helped ‘Satyamev Jayate’ turn into a fruitful venture, while many others would beg to differ.

As the actor met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Minister for Social Justice Mukul Wasnik recently to discuss manual scavenging, reporters bombarded the actor with questions asking him if he stole the arc light from several other social activists who have been fighting for social reforms in India for years now.

The “perfectionist” as he is popularly known as, refuted allegations and instead said that his research team banked on the information provided by social activists and that he had no intentions of overshadowing anyone.

If one were to sample some actions initiated by the government and state governments have post ‘Satyamev Jayate’, we wouldn’t be unimpressed:

1) Rajasthan Chief Minister ordered the setting up of fast track court to solve impending cases of female foeticide in the state.
2) The Lok Sabha passed the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Bill
3) Maharashtra Government announced availability of generic medicines across all Government hospitals.
4) Maharashtra Government banning manual scavenging in the state and the Prime Minister promising immediate action to abolish the practice.

There have been many other implementations at various levels to help improve India’s present state of social affairs. However, many critics of Aamir Khan have been speaking about his star persona and how that led to the success of his show.

Though Aamir played host to a number of social activists on his show and got valuable insights from their end on varied subjects, one thing that cannot be denied is that somewhere down the line, efforts of the silent crusaders went unnoticed.

Does that mean that one has to be powerful enough to make a noise about the issues that are concerning the nation? Why do efforts of non-stars go unnoticed? Aren’t they fighting for peoples` rights with utmost conviction or do they have malicious intent behind what they do?

These are some of the questions that might never get answered.

The intent behind throwing such questions is not to take away anything from what Aamir has done, but it does make many wonder if the sincere efforts of a commoner get the much needed acknowledgement. What does look apparent is that the government can bank is propelled into action if a star comes on the scenario!

Nonetheless, India is awakening to newer reforms and plans courtesy ‘Satyamev Jayate’. If the Ministers need an Aamir Khan to remind them of their duties, so be it. At the end of the day, it’s the nation that’s benefiting. Isn’t it?

But let us not push other hardworking and sincere social activists into oblivion, for more the number of Aamir Khans in India; the better it is for the country.
Follow @gayatrisankar

First Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 16:52


(The views expressed by the author are personal)
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